Prehistory Sites & Museums in Sardinia

Sardinia has been settled by early members of the human species since at least 500,000 years ago.  Since then people lived a hunter- gatherer way of life up until 10,000 years ago. Shortly after this, around 6000 BC, farming was introduced to the island, along with new traditions such as pottery, beautiful carved figures, and megalithic structures and rock cut tombs, the Domus de Janus. At around 3500 BC people start to make metals, copper to begin with then Bronze. Museums around Sardinia display these prehistoric artefacts recovered from archaeological excavations.  While a number of the rock cut tombs and megalithic sites, dolmens and stone circles are accessible.  

Prehistory Sites in Sardinia

Biru'e Concas Archaeological Park

It houses the highest concentration of menhirs in the Mediterranean area, with around 200 monoliths scattered throughout the park. The menhirs, almost all of simple type without any anthropomorphic character, date back to a period between the 4th and 3rd millennium BC. At the time of its discovery, almost no stones were found in their original position, but most were found split or lying on the ground, perhaps due to the evangelisation work ordered by Pope Gregory the Great, which included the island towards the end of the 6th century AD. The site is free to visit and allows visitors to rediscover the works of the pre-Nuragic and Nuragic civilisation, where traces of an ancient megalithic wall and a nuraghe also remain.

Domus de Janas S'incantu - Necropolis of Monte Siseri

Those who visit it are confronted with one of the highlights of Neolithic art in Sardinia and beyond. It is called ‘s’Incantu’, which literally means ‘the enchantment’, because of the mood it arouses. It is carved into the rock, dating from between 3200 and 2600 BC, with a corridor leading to a small atrium, followed by the central cell and side cells, used for the deposition of the dead. Each corner has engravings related to the funerary world, such as false doors, taurine protomes, and concentric circles engraved on the floor. The site, with free entry, is difficult to reach because of signposting, but visitors who manage to find it will certainly not be disappointed.

Mount d'Accoddi

The complex represents a unique case, both in Europe and in the Mediterranean area. It was built over 5,000 years ago, between 4000 and 3200 BC, and is currently the only type of sacred building with forms similar to those of the Mesopotamian Ziqqurat, discovered in the 1950s. After paying the ticket, the ruins of the temple are located on a plain in open country, formed by terraces on several levels in the shape of a truncated cone, with a long ramp leading up to the top, presumably the most sacred point. Around the area, interesting artefacts of the pre-Nuragic civilisation survive, such as a menhir, a large stone table thought to have been used for votive offerings, as well as the remains of a village.

Necropolis of Sant'Andrea Priu

One of the most fascinating sites of the pre-Nuragic period in Sardinia, where prehistory unintentionally merges with Christian art. The necropolis, consisting of 20 hypogea excavated within the rocky bank, dates between 3200 and 2850 BC. Of all the tombs, the famous Tomb of the Chief certainly stands out. In terms of size, it is one of the largest in the entire Mediterranean area, with a surface area of 250 square metres and 18 rooms following one another. The Christians reused it as a church, plastering and frescoing it several times between the 4th and 6th centuries AD, and today it is still possible to see part of the decorations, in a unique mix of prehistory and Christian art.

Prehistory in Museums of Sardinia

Civic Archaeological Museum of Cabras

The Museo Civico “Giovanni Marongiu” – Cabras opened in 1997 exhibiting the local history of the Cabras municipality (including the Sinis Peninsular), from prehistory to medieval times. Artefacts come from Neolithic, Nuragic, Phoenician-Punic, Roman and medieval sites in the area. Two notable displays include the Roman shipwreck of Mal di Ventre, dated to the 1st century BC, and a small collection of the large stone statues, the ‘Sardinian Giants’, recovered by archaeologists at the Nuragic necropolis of Mont’e Prama.

Menhir Museum, Laconi

Since 2010 the museum has been housed in the Aymerich Palace, built in 1846 to a design by the Cagliaritan architect Gaetano Cima. Undoubtedly one of the most interesting museums on the island, 44 menhirs from the territory of Laconi and the province of Oristano are on permanent display. Following a tour of 11 galleries, the visitor traces the evolution of this phenomenon, which from simple shapes, goes on to represent complex symbols and anthropomorphic characters. Many statues represent engraved ‘upside-down’ and ‘dagger’ signs, expressions of a complex society to which the museum gives voice.